Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 21st Jun 2012 22:40 UTC
X11, Window Managers John Goerzen, Debian/GNU Linux developer, transitions his kids from bash to xmonad: "I'd been debating how to introduce GUIs for a very long time. It has not escaped my attention that children that used Commodores or TRS-80s or DOS knew a lot more about how their computers worked, on average, than those of the same age that use Windows or MacOS. I didn't want our boys to skip an entire phase of learning how their technology works." I decided long ago that my kids - if I ever have them, I'm undecided and way too young - will learn computing the way I learned it: with a CLI. I never realised an xmonad setup would form a good transition phase into GUIs.
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Rear view mirror.
by westlake on Fri 22nd Jun 2012 02:32 UTC
westlake
Member since:
2010-01-07

It has not escaped my attention that children that used Commodores or TRS-80s or DOS knew a lot more about how their computers worked, on average, than those of the same age that use Windows or MacOS.


Sales of the TRS-80: 200,000 units.
Sales of the Apple II 5-6 million units.
Sales of the C-64: 12-17 million units.
1995 Sales of Windows 95: 40 million units.

It's easy to forget how small the user base was in the CLI era.

How few kids had access to these machines.

For example, adjusted for inflation, the 1977 Trash-80 cost $2100.

It wasn't command line operations that made the eight bit micro appealing to kids.

It was the MBASIC interpreter.

Magazines like Creative Computing and Compute. Books like "100 BASIC Computer Games."

Each month delivering to your doorstep a dozen or more easy-to-read and understand programs.

Ready-to-Run.

Reply Score: 7

RE: Rear view mirror.
by anevilyak on Fri 22nd Jun 2012 12:56 in reply to "Rear view mirror. "
anevilyak Member since:
2005-09-14


It wasn't command line operations that made the eight bit micro appealing to kids.

It was the MBASIC interpreter.

Magazines like Creative Computing and Compute. Books like "100 BASIC Computer Games."

Each month delivering to your doorstep a dozen or more easy-to-read and understand programs.

Ready-to-Run.


I'd have to agree with this. In my case, it was a C128 rather than a TRS-80 but I can safely say that the combination of having a basic interpreter the moment you powered on + RUN magazine and its monthly program listings was one of the primary motivators that got me interested in software.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE: Rear view mirror.
by t0nZ on Fri 22nd Jun 2012 21:27 in reply to "Rear view mirror. "
t0nZ Member since:
2011-04-27

No no it's not a valid count... Win 95 sales went straight to workers in offices, and the other 8 bit systems had good chances to land in houses with childrens.
Btw, I have two childrens 8 and 4 years and for my fun I helped this year teachers of the local primary school in teaching the so called "information tecnology".
So I can tell you some real truth:
1) adults without kids , when speaking of kids, are very funny...
2) ALL children of 6 in 2012 have seen a lot of GUIs, in TV sets, in consoles, in phones etc, and you can not deny you live in a world of (advanced?) GUIs to children, they aren't so stupid.
3) when back in the days I launched games with 'load "*",8,1' GUI was not so common, and I have really no alternatives.
4) I like me too the idea of initialize a geek kid now with a command line but I have realized is out of time, we in the eighties started with the edge of home computer tecnology, and our kids must start with today edge of tecnology; try to think of your dad in 1982 asking you to make a punch card !!!!!

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[2]: Rear view mirror.
by westlake on Sat 23rd Jun 2012 00:44 in reply to "RE: Rear view mirror. "
westlake Member since:
2010-01-07

No no it's not a valid count... Win 95 sales went straight to workers in offices, and the other 8 bit systems had good chances to land in houses with childrens.


No.

No more than the enterprise and small business instantly migrated from MSDOS to Win 3.1 or from XP to Vista and Win 7.

Windows 95 made an explosive entry into the consumer market.

I can still vividly recall launching the "Good Times" video from the companion CD:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iqL1BLzn3qc

In October 1996 AOL went to flat-rate monthly billing and our phone service (like others) to an affordable flat-rate calling plan.

I had struggled with E-mail. FTP. Telnet. BBS. IRC chat. USENET.

AOL was a revelation. Layer upon layer of complexity simply stripped away.

Nothing would ever be the same again.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: Rear view mirror.
by zima on Thu 28th Jun 2012 23:17 in reply to "Rear view mirror. "
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

Sales of the TRS-80: 200,000 units.
Sales of the Apple II 5-6 million units.
Sales of the C-64: 12-17 million units.
1995 Sales of Windows 95: 40 million units.

Plus the yearly sales of OS don't nearly exhaust it - it's easier to pirate software than hardware; a practice quite widespread on home PCs in many places.

It's easy to forget how small the user base was in the CLI era.
How few kids had access to these machines.
[...]
It was the MBASIC interpreter.
Magazines like Creative Computing and Compute. Books like "100 BASIC Computer Games."
Each month delivering to your doorstep a dozen or more easy-to-read and understand programs.
Ready-to-Run.

Don't forget to explicitly mention that those few had, on average, much more interest in computers - a relatively likely trait of somebody insisting on getting one in the times when they weren't very accessible (both price and ~UI wise)

Reply Parent Score: 2